• erythropoietin;
  • fetal ventral mesencephalon;
  • GDNF;
  • neural transplantation;
  • Parkinson's disease


Low dopaminergic cell survival and suboptimal fiber reinnervation are likely major contributing factors for the limited benefits of neural transplantation in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients. Glial cell lined-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) has been shown to enhance dopaminergic cell survival and fiber outgrowth of the graft site as well as promote behavioral recovery in rodent models of PD, while erythropoietin (EPO) can produce dopaminergic neuroprotective effects against 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) exposure on cultured neurons and 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine-treated mice. The aim of this study was to determine if fetal ventral mesencephalic (FVM) tissue exposed to hibernation media containing a combination of GDNF and EPO could enhance dopaminergic graft survival, striatal reinnervation and functional recovery in a 6-OHDA rodent model of PD. FVM tissue was dissected from 14-day-old rat fetuses and placed for 6 days in hibernation media alone, and in hibernation media that received either a daily administration of GDNF, EPO or a combination of GDNF and EPO. Following hibernation, FVM cells were transplanted as a single cell suspension into the striatum of unilateral 6-OHDA-lesioned rats. Rotational behavioral assessment revealed animals that received FVM tissue exposed to GDNF, EPO or the combination of both drugs had accelerated functional recovery. Immunohistochemical and stereological assessment revealed a significant increase in graft fiber density and angiogenesis into the graft when compared with control. These findings suggest that the hibernation of FVM tissue in a combination of GDNF and EPO can enhance graft efficacy and may have important implications for tissue preparation protocols for clinical neural transplantation in PD.